Matheny on blowout loss to Tigers: 'That's ugly no matter where it is'

News-DemocratMarch 10, 2014 

Cardinals' reliever Jason Motte on Tuesday took another step in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Motte, wearing No. 30, was throwing a bullpen session alongside Michael Wacha at the club's spring training complex in Jupiter, Fla.

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JUPITER, Fla. --It was not a good Monday afternoon for St. Louis Cardinals pitchers at Roger Dean Stadium.

All five were shellacked in an unsightly 17-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers at Roger Stadium. The Tigers were 11-for-20 with runners in scoring position and 10 of their 22 hits were for extra bases.

"That's ugly no matter where it is," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny lamented. "In the backyard with your kids, you don't like to have games like that. I'd like to say you get them out of your system, but there's nothing saying that they're gone once you have a couple of them.

"But to have two of them in a row like that is just not acceptable and these guys know that. I still see everybody going about it the right way, but obviously, there's a better level of baseball than what we've seen the last couple of days."

St. Louis was thrashed 11-1 by the Washington National on Sunday in Viera, Fla., so it's been outscored 28-6 in the last two contests.

"(Sunday) was a different situation," Matheny said. "Today, we got bombed. There were balls hit hard all over the place. We just got beat up. We're better than 28-6, I'll tell you that. That's a bad football score."

Starter Shelby Miller yielded a two-run homer to right to Miguel Cabrera before exiting in the third Monday. He was relieved by Lee Stoppelman, who allowed five runs in the same inning.

Tyler Lyons relieved in the fourth and allowed seven runs, including a homer to Nick Castellanos. Lyons was replaced by Keith Butler, who surrendered another home run to Cabrera, a monster mash to center, that made it 15-0. Eric Fornataro allowed two runs in two innings.

Stephen Piscotty clubbed a three-run homer in the seventh and newcomer Peter Bourjos had two hits and a fine running catch in right-center.

Miller, a 15-game winner as a rookie last season, wasn't overly displeased with his performance.

"I thought I did good," he said. "I made a couple of mistakes pitching, but everything felt good. My arm felt good. My fastball command wasn't near as good as I wanted it to be, but you're going to have days where you're a little off.

"I made some good pitches and made a couple of bad ones. At the same time, it was a good outing. I didn't want to give up any runs, but at the same time, I felt good and I feel like I'm getting better out there."

Miller was trying to pitch around the slugging Cabrera when Cabrera launched one over the right-field wall.

"The ball wasn't even a foot off the ground," said Miller, who blamed a lack of focus. "I wasn't thinking out there. We were trying to get the ball off the plate and not give him anything to hit, and I just threw it right on the corner. He's obviously got good power."

No Taveras

Top prospect Oscar Taveras did not play in the game Monday against Detroit as it became more obvious that he will not come north with the Cardinals.

"He's moving pretty good, but we're still going to go a little slow with him," Matheny said of Taveras, battling a tight right hamstring.

Taveras' surgically repaired right ankle was coming around this spring, although he has been running on it with increased confidence in the last week.

Tuesday vs. Mets

Despite battling strep throat, Adam Wainwright will pitch in the 12:05 p.m. game Tuesday against the New York Mets.

Wainwright posed for a photo shoot Monday morning, then left Roger Dean Stadium before the blowout against Detroit.

Wainwright stressed that he is not contagious.

Carp in camp

Former Cy Young Award-winner Chris Carpenter arrived in spring training for the first time Monday and sat with General Manager John Mozeliak in the box seats behind home plate for a few innings.

Carpenter, who retired at the end of the 2013 season, is in a new role as special assistant to Mozeliak.

Neshek making impression

Veteran sidewinder Pat Neshek, who signed a minor-league contract Feb. 6, could be on his way to earning a spot with the team.

Neshek, traditionally a right-handed specialist, has showed effectiveness against left-handed batters this spring and has been timed as high as 92 mph.

"The ball's jumping out of his hand," Matheny said. "You can tell it's an uncomfortable at-bat. The lefties look just as uncomfortable as the righties do. I know those numbers have always been skewed the other day, but he's got plenty of life on the ball. There's no question.

"Most sinkerballers, you're going to have that natural drop. His ball kind of explodes. You don't see many guys throwing from down there throwing as hard as he does. Usually, you have guys (throwing) 87, 88, and it's dropping because of lack of velocity more than anything else."

Trimming the team

After the game Monday, the Cardinals trimmed nine players from their big-league camp.

Optioned to Class AAA Memphis were pitcher Angel Castro and outfielders Mike O'Neill and Rafael Ortega. Reassigned to minor-league camp were pitchers Kurt Heyer and Boone Whiting, infielder Patrick Wisdom and catchers Carson Kelly, Casey Rasmus and Cody Stanley.

The Cardinals have 49 players left in major-league camp --37 of whom are on the 40-man roster, 12 who are not.

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidMWilhelm.

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